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Three builders who conned pensioners out of their life savings are beginning jail sentences totalling 12 years.
Alexander Allan, William McPhee and Andrew Cummings took nearly £70,000 from seven victims by pretending they needed roofing work carried out.
They inflated the cost of jobs and claimed more work was needed. They were convicted after a three-week trial.
The victims were aged between 75 and 84 and targeted in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire in 2003 and 2004.
Jane McCreath, 76, from Ayr, South Ayrshire, was told that she would be made homeless if she failed to pay.
Margaret Tennant, 84, from Troon, South Ayrshire, handed over £14,350.
But the work carried out by McPhee, 40, from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, and Cummings, 25, from Ayr, was worth £1,500.
Ruth Johnstone, 84, from Ayr, who is registered blind and deaf was conned into signing a cheque for £600.
The gang altered the amount to steal £6,000 from her account.
They also called at 77-year-old Catherine Cooper's house in Dunure, South Ayrshire, and said her roof was leaking before taking £3,200 from her for work worth only £300.
I see. Three builders - from Coatbridge, Motherwell and Ayr - in a joint operation. Strange, really. Those three locations aren't terribly close. And there is one group of people who have a bit of previous when it comes to ripping off pensioners for building work. Anything else we need to know ?
A fourth man, Alexander Townsley, 45, of South Bridgend, Crieff, Perthshire, gave evidence for the Crown against his former co-accused after having charges against him withdrawn during the trial.
He told of being duped into paying cheques into his bank account after being hired for two days' work by the gang, whom he described as travellers who could not read or write.
Townsley is now in hiding at an undisclosed location under the witness protection scheme.
The court was cleared of the public and press and extra police were drafted in after a security alert following the guilty verdicts, which took three days for the jury to return.
Thank you, Scotsman.
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